Global Recognition for Nigerian Advertising

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Steve Babaeko

The quest for global recognition in the nation’s advertising industry recently got a boost when a Nigerian advertising man, Steve Babaeko of X3M Ideas, was named in the 2019 Adweek’s Creative 100, writes Raheem Akingbolu

The last few years appear to be the defining moments for Nigerian advertising because of the global attraction a few agencies and practitioners have received. From DDB to Noah’s Ark, Insight to X3M Ideas, the global feats being recorded have been encouraging, considering the long dream of Nigerian practitioners to get global reckoning.

The story began to change about 10 years ago, when creative works from Nigerian agencies started getting mentions in international advertising review journals. For instance, in 2012, one of the creative works from DDB Lagos won ‘Luerzer’s Archive Print Ad of the Week. But in recent time, two Nigerian agencies; Noah’s Ark and X3M Ideas, seem to be re-writing the nation’ s advertising story with their works and accomplishment of their founders.

Last year, Nigeria’s advertising industry received global applause and recognition when Noah’s Ark, hauled three major awards at the Lories Creative Week held in Durban, South Africa. Same year, the agency’s Chief Creative Officer Lanre Adisa, emerged the first Nigerian to make the list of Juries for the world’s biggest Adverting Festival-the Cannes Lions Festival. Around the same time, X3M Ideas, also brought a spur to campaigns and marketing communications in Globacom as it recorded three awards at the African Cristal Advertising Festival, held in Marrakech, Morocco. The three awards coming courtesy of X3M TV commercial, tagged ‘Unmatched’ won in the categories of Media, Telecoms and Brand Entertainment, for content in TV/cinema and coasted home with a bronze for each category. The agency’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Babaeko was also on a panel at the Cannes Lion International Festival, held two months ago. He was also on the jury of the New York Advertising Festival in 2016, 2017 and 2018, as well as a judge at The Loerie Awards in 2017.

2019 Adweek’s Creative 100

The dream and projection of many experts that Nigerian advertising practitioners, would one day, rule the creative world got a boost few weeks ago, when the Chief Executive Officer of X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko, was announced as one of this year’s top 100 Creative 100. The selection was made by Adweek, a frontline American media conglomerate and the gatekeeper of the global marketing practice.

The annual honorary list was created by Adweek to celebrate trendsetters and innovators in creative industries across the globe whose ideas are advancing advertising worldwide.

On an annual basis, highly respected Adweek lists deserving practitioner for its Creative 100 who the publication terms as “Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for the year”

Making the announcement in its New York office for the 2019 edition which was released few ago, the organisers reasoned, “Defining creativity can be, at once, both obvious and impossibly nuanced. As the lines between marketers and makers continue to blur, creative talents are crossing over into culture in more ways than ever before”.

Adweek further stated, “Each year, Adweek celebrates the Creative 100, a roster of gifted professionals who inspire current and future generations not only with their work but also their passion for creativity across advertising, media, art, literature, animation and more”.

Steve, who is also the Vice President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), a regulatory body for advertising agencies in Nigeria, has consistently been described as a source of inspiration to a new generation of advertising and media practitioners. With his agency already present in a number of cities across Africa, including Accra, Ghana; Lusaka, Zambia; and Johannesburg, the 7-year old agency has continued to spread its tentacles beyond the borders of Nigeria.

It’s believed by industry’s pundits that the feat is in line with Babaeko’s strong trust that no business or agency in the 21st century should be local as the world has become a global village. For many years, Babaeko has held strongly to the view that brands that seek to lead their industries must think out of the box and leverage the power of digital media to stand out.

Imports of the recognition

Many creatives experts, including Babaeko, have since reacted to the recognition and described it as a sign of better things to come. Babaeko broke the Adweek Creative 100 news on his social media pages June 13 when he wrote; “Getting recognised by Adweek NewYork as one of the top 100 Creatives in the world in 2019 is indeed a huge honour. Thank you Adweek; this is most appreciated. I have lived in Nigeria all my life. Advertising is and will always be an undying passion, so you can imagine the shock I got doing what I truly love in my little corner of the globe.

Also, at an event organised in Lagos to celebrate the achievement, Babaeko expressed his joy on the Adweek recognition and other accomplishments by him and his team.

I’m glad that Nigerian creatives and companies are rising up to change the African narrative and tell original stories. We are not erasing our history, we are simply redefining the future and this is birth from a place of passion, as well as hard work. I feel honoured to be celebrated today. We will keep pushing boundaries and changing the way Africa is perceived. We will continue inspiring younger generations and challenge practicing creatives, because this is how we can move Africa forward,”
How did X3M Ideas get to the multiple vantage points with such as short time frame as seven years? Babaeko simply replied by stating that his agency has always had the dream of playing in the first league

“I tell you from day one, we started this company, we didn’t come here to play second fiddle to nobody. We came here to “play” if you can’t play hard you better go home. From day one, we were determined to take the company to the global stage. We wanted to be the best of local agencies providing world class services to our clients. We’ve done that at local fonts. Name all of the awards, we’ve been there either as a jury or as a speaker from Loeries to African Cristal to Cannes to New York advertising festival, we’ve done it consistently.